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to reason upon. As he usually preached upon these deep and essential doctrines of the gospel; so he preached upon them metaphysically, that is, he reasoned upon them. He did not merely preach about them, or declaim upon them; but he explained them, proved them, and refuted the most plausible objections ever made against them. Let any minister, at this day, commonly preach upon the same subjects, and in the same manner that Paul did, and he will be called a metaphysical preacher, by those who generally preach upon different subjects in a different manner, and by those who are pleased with such a different mode of preaching. And we must allow, that they are perfectly correct in calling any minister a metaphysical preacher, who preaches sentimentally and argumentatively as Paul did.
2. If Paul preached upon such subjects, and in such a manner as has been represented, in order to preach in the most plain and profitable manner, then none have any good reason to speak reproachfully of his manner of preaching. We must believe, that he was sincere in his profession to preach plainly and profitably; and we must believe also, that he chose the best method of preaching plainly and profitably. But if this be true, who can have any ground to complain or speak reproachfully of his mode of preaching? It is certainly very unreasonable to find fault with the very best mode of preaching. But we know, that both the matter and manner of his preaching were highly displeasing to many who heard him. And though few, at this day, would be willing to say, that they dislike Paul's preaching yet many are very free to say, that they dislike the same kind and mode of preaching. When any ministers generally preach upon the same subjects and in the same manner that Paul did, they reproachfully call them metaphysical preachers, and their preaching metaphysical preaching. Both ministers and people lift up a loud and united voice against what they call metaphysical preaching. We can scarcely hear or read an ordination sermon, which does not contain
some severe and contemptuous remarks upon either metaphysical preachers, or metaphysical preaching. Let us now candidly inquire whether there can be any just ground, to speak contemptuously of the best mode of preaching, which the best human preacher, for the best reasons, adopted.
Some may say, that Christ did not preach metaphysically, but only taught plain, practical doctrines, without reasoning upon them, or attempting to prove them, by a train of connected arguments; and therefore ministers should follow his example, and preach plainly and practically as he did, and not presume to preach upon deep metaphysical subjects in a metaphysical manner. Ans. There is reason to think, that Paul felt his obligation to follow the example of Christ, as much as any preacher of the gospel ever did. And so far as he deviated from Christ's example in preaching, he acted from pure and proper motives. And it is easy to see a good reason, why Christ did not undertake to prove the doctrines he taught, for he taught as one having authority, that none ought to dispute. It was sufficient for him to assert, or to command, or forbid, by his own divine authority. But neither Paul, nor any other human preacher is clothed with such authority.
Some may say, that those who preach upon the same metaphysical subjects in the same metaphysical manner that Paul did, do not preach plainly and practically, and therefore are unprofitable preachers. But if Paul was a plain and profitable preacher, why should not those, who follow his example, be plain and profitable preachers? And what is the language of well known facts in this case? Are not those, who preach upon the same subjects and in the same manner that Paul did, as plain and profitable preachers, as those, who studiously avoid preaching upon the same subjects and in the same manner that the Apostle did? Who generally preach the most plainly, instructively, profitably, and successfully; those who are called metaphysical, or those who are called anti-metaphysical preachers? No preacher ever exhibited more truth,
more plainly, profitably, and successfully, than the Apostle Paul. He surpassed all the other Apostles in both the manner, matter, and success of his preaching. He was instrumental of turning thousands, if not millions of mankind from darkness to light, and from the delusions of Satan unto God. And still his mode of preaching is every where spoken against, both by preachers and people, but more generally by preachers, who are afraid of being reproached for metaphysical preaching; though it is utterly impossible to allege one solid objection against his mode of preaching, which was the best calculated to answer the best and most important ends of preaching the gospel.
3. If Paul, for good reasons, chose and adopted the very best mode of preaching; then no other reason can be assigned for disliking and reproaching it, but a dislike to the precious and important doctrines of the gospel, which his mode of preaching exhibits in the clearest and strongest light. And this is the very cause, which those, who dislike and reprobate it, either indirectly, or directly show to be the cause of their disapprobation and reproach. Some ministers show this to be the cause of their disapprobation, by neglecting to preach upon the same subjects and in the same manner, that the Apostle did; and others, by openly and boldly preaching against the doctrines, which he preached, and the manner of his preaching them. And peo ple manifest their disapprobation, by saying, they love to have it so, and by choosing to have such preachers. Now, it is easy to see, that whenever both ministers and people generally unite in disliking the doctrines that Paul preached, and his manner of preaching them, that metaphysical preachers will be neglected, or opposed, or set aside. And whenever there are none, or but very few, who dare to go into a synagogue, or house of publick worship and reason three sabbaths, or three months, or a year and six months, upon the great and essential doctrines of the gospel, as Paul did; a wide door will be opened for the propagation and spread of gross and fatal religious errour among all
classes of people. It is no small, venial evil, for either ministers or people to speak reproachfully and contemptuously of metaphysical preaching, for the real purpose of bringing the essential and fundamental doctrines of the gospel into contempt. No person, who loves these doctrines, is ever displeased in hearing them explained, proved, and set in the strongest light, by preachers. It is not metaphysical preaching, but the doctrines metaphysically preached, that is so much disliked, opposed, and reproached. When we hear either preachers or people speak against metaphysical preaching, we need to be at no loss, what their meaning, or design is, or what consequences will flow from their artful and pernicious conduct. They employ the smoothest, easiest, and most effectual method, to prevent the spread of truth, and promote the spread of errour, that ever has been, or can be employed. Such deceivers are extremely dangerous, and their artifice ought to be exposed, condemned, and resisted, by all preachers and lovers of the truth.
4. If Paul preached plainly, in order to preach profitably; then other ministers ought to preach plainly, for the same important purpose. Paul's plain preaching offended and disaffected many of his hearers. But this did not prevent his preaching plainly; for his design in preaching was not to please men, but to profit them, and please God. So he said to the Galatians, who had forsaken him, and followed false teachers. "I marvel, that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you, than that ye received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." If Paul could not please both
God and man, by preaching divine truths plainly, then, no other ministers can expect to please both God and man by plain preaching. But as Paul chose to please God and profit men, by preaching plainly, rather than to please men to their own destruction; so ministers ought to make the same choice, and preach in the same manner, and leave the event to God, whether the truth they deliver shall be a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death unto death to their hearers. Plain and profitable preaching will always produce one, or the other of these important effects. Paul was willing to please men in every thing, except neglecting to preach truth plainly, and all ministers should be wilfing to do the one, and not the other. No preacher in the world can find a solid excuse for not preaching plainly and profitably, through fear of offending, or a desire of pleasing men. This, in many cases, is an extremely great trial. For by preaching plainly and profitably, many ministers have lost both the favour and support of their people, and involved themselves in great, distressing, and lasting temporal evils. But though such calamities may be foreseen, in consequence of ministers preaching plainly and faithfully, they have no right to shrink from the trial; but feel and say with the Apostle," None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
5. If ministers ought to preach plainly and profitably, as Paul did; then people ought to approve of their preaching in such a manner, though it be not pleasing to their natural hearts. People have no right to desire preachers to seek to please them simply, but they ought to desire them to seek to save them. How thankful have many been, who have been recovered from the delusions of false teachers, to the knowledge of the great and saving truths of the gospel, by plain and profitable preaching? Thousands, whom Paul instrumentally turned from pagan and fatal delusions,